CareerOwl Featured Career Article

Cover Letters That Excite
copyright © by Kevin Donlin

Do you love your cover letter? Who cares!

Because you don't hire yourself. Someone else does. And you can't bore that someone into hiring you.

So, why do so many cover letters do just that -- bore the pants off readers?

Kevin Donlin
Kevin Donlin

The following excerpt -- we'll call it Exhibit A -- is from a cover letter sent by a reader who said it "excited him." Judge for yourself:

"I offer this letter and enclosed resume confident that with solution-focused leadership combined with a resourceful entrepreneurial perspective, I will provide foundational Business Consultation and Event Coordination expertise to your company."

Apart from the random capitalization, which will turn off any sticklers for grammar, this passage scores a perfect 0.0 for both excitability and readability. And that's without an East German judge.

Let's rewrite it. Keep one thing in mind -- most writing takes too long to warm up. If you chop off the first half of most paragraphs, you'll usually cut right to the good stuff.

Try this instead (adding SPECIFICS throughout, to prove your claims):

"I'm writing to offer my 11 years of experience in marketing consulting and event coordination to your company. My leadership skills and entrepreneurial mindset have produced significant gains in revenue (up to
$2.3 million per year) and customer satisfaction (nearly 98%) for my last two clients."

Now, that may not be the perfect introduction, but you see my point. It's hard to ignore juicy numbers and specifics like those, presented in a conversational tone.

Let's examine Exhibit B, another excruciating paragraph from the same cover letter:

"I cannot overestimate the value of applying essential synergistic principles while envisioning colleagues through a clear understanding of the over-all corporate purpose."

OK. I confess. I have no idea what that means.

But let me take a stab at translating it into language that will make an employer want to pick up the phone and call you for an interview:

"By setting ambitious goals and building motivated teams, I have met or exceeded revenue targets for nine straight quarters in my current position. Now, I would like to bring these skills to work for you."

Remember -- your cover letter MUST excite an employer or recruiter enough to make that person want to drop his sandwich and get you on the phone. Here's hoping you do just that, using specific facts and everyday language.

Best of luck to you!

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Kevin Donlin is Managing Editor of 1 Day Resumes. The 1DR writers provide same-day, one-on-one resume writing assistance. He is also author of "Resume and Cover Letter Secrets Revealed," a do-it-yourself manual that will help you find a job in 30 days ... or your money back. For more information, click here.

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